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The Middle Office: Complementing ERP & CRM

Mike Slavin< Mike Slavin June 17, 2020

“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless…”  – Thomas Edison

Way back before the turn of the century, I remember sitting in on a presentation about how this new thing – ERP software – was going to revolutionize how large companies ran their businesses.  “All of your data in one place.”  “Your complete order-to-cash business process in ONE SYSTEM!”  “Greater efficiency.”  “Elimination of errors.”  Like a lot of others, I wondered what everyone was going to do with all of the free time they were going to have after they rolled out ERP.

Fast forward a few years and many large companies had figured out that ERP had NOT solved all of their problems – especially when it came to interactions with customers.  But low and behold there was a new enterprise solution – CRM – that was going to revolutionize how they did business.  “A 360 degree view of your customer.”  “A record of all of your customer interactions.”  “A solution that will help your sales team sell more and make more money.”  “Greater efficiency.”  “Elimination of errors.” Here again I was left wondering what everyone was going to do with all of the free time they were going to have after they rolled out CRM.

A Link Between Back Office and Front Office

Most large enterprises wouldn’t be able to function efficiently and profitably today without their ERP backbone.  ERP systems have been proven to be more than capable of handling sales-related Back Office requirements related to order fulfillment.  On the customer facing Front Office side of the business, most large enterprises have rolled out some sort of CRM solution – if for no other reasons than to deal with contact/account management and the “this looked really cool in the 1990’s” user experience of ERP that just doesn’t cut it.

Here we are almost a quarter of the way into the 21st century and the use of ERP, CRM and other enterprise systems have played significant roles in the ongoing gains in productivity and efficiency large companies have enjoyed over the last 25+ years.  ERP systems can ‘handle’ quoting and pricing.  CRM systems can provide a wonderful experience tailored to the user who has to face a customer.  But when it comes to making sure the right product at the right price at the right time is presented during the quoting process, most ERP and CRM solutions come up short.

To address these types of challenges, Vendavo has brought together the most comprehensive and holistic set of critical capabilities that enable true Commercial Excellence… all through a cloud solution that plugs into other key systems like ERP and CRM – creating a digital Middle Office to link your Front Office with your Back Office.

The first area of Vendavo Commercial Excellence capabilities is around sales:  An omnichannel experience to seamlessly guide a seller (or customer in a self-serve scenario) through the selection process to ensure the right product is quoted.  The result?  More business won by quickly turning around accurate quotes.

A critical component of the Middle Office is Pricing. Vendavo Deal Price Optimizer provides the capability to leverage internal and external data to produce an optimized price guidance envelope.  Real-time, dynamic pricing placed in the hands of sales people leads to maximized revenue and margin.  And all of this is informed through purpose-built, advanced analytics and AI capabilities.

ERP and CRM are far from ‘useless.’ They just need some complementary help to solve the Middle Office problems they weren’t ever designed to handle.

For more on how other companies are maximizing their sales effectiveness with strategic pricing, download the Corning Optical case study Smarter Pricing Lights the Way to Improved Margins.